Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy will not rush last season's top scorer David McGoldrick back from injury.
McCarthy is hopeful the striker will be fit to face Fulham on the opening day of the Championship season on 9 August.
But the 26-year-old has yet to play since suffering a knee injury in February that later required surgery.
"Only when he's ready will I play him. Only when he and the physio tell me he's ready," McCarthy told BBC Radio Suffolk.
"I'd sooner him miss the first month of the season - and I'm not saying he will - and play the next nine, as opposed to rushing him back and him being out for three months with niggly injuries."
McGoldrick scored 16 times in 34 games last season, but did not feature in Town's 0-0 friendly draw against West Ham on Wednesday night.
Young striker Jack Marriott missed two presentable chances in the first half against the Hammers.
The 19-year-old scored 12 goals in 21 games while on loan at Conference Premier Woking last season.
"It's a different ball game. He's not in the under-21s, he's not at Woking," said McCarthy.
"It's a different atmosphere. He's got to transfer that finishing and quality from the leagues he's been playing into this one."